Lockdown! Harden Windows 10 for maximum security

To make the most of Windows 10's security improvements, you must target the right edition and hardware for your needs

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Other security goodies

Windows 10 supports mobile device management across all editions, but needs to be integrated with a separate MDM platform, such as Microsoft Intune or a third-party platform such as VMware’s AirWatch. If MDM is on the list, the best scenario would be to avoid Windows 10 Home, as not all capabilities are available in that edition. MDM and SCCM platforms can also use the Windows Device Health Attestation Service, available across all editions, to manage conditional access scenarios.

Group Policy is a powerful tool for Windows administrators, but it is available with only Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. Domain join and Azure Active Directory Domain join, which enable single sign-on for cloud-hosted applications, are also powerful administrator tools available for Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. Azure Directory Domain join requires a separate Azure Active Directory.

Though not strictly a security feature, Assigned Access lets administrators lock down the interface on Windows 10 devices so that users are limited to specific tasks. Available only with an Enterprise E3 subscription (or Education), Assigned Access can restrict access to services; block access to Shut Down, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate commands; and prevent changes to the Start menu, the taskbar, or the Start screen. Organizations that have deployed DirectAccess infrastructure for remote access will need Windows 10 Enterprise or Education to connect.

Picking what you need

While Windows 10 Home may be the most limited of the desktop editions when it comes to security, that doesn’t mean users have to shell out for Enterprise to get any of the new features. Regardless of edition, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most secure operating system to date, and a constant release of security patches, feature updates, and version upgrades will keep it that way. Everyone’s security needs are different. Make sure to buy the edition and establish the configuration that gives you the optimal security you are looking for.

Related resources

This story, "Lockdown! Harden Windows 10 for maximum security " was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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